Apple files lots of patents for lots of potential products and manufacturing methods. Some are weird, some are cool, and some make almost no sense, but a newly uncovered patent application from the company is one of the rare examples of all three; Apple just patented a vape.

The application, which was discovered by Digital Trends, is titled simply “Sublimator/Vaporizer” and describes a device that allows for the vaporization of an unidentified substance via a dual-chamber system. The abstract reads as follows:

“A chamber body is to receive therein a substance that is to be vaporized or sublimated into a vapor. A plate whose bottom face rests on the substance inside the chamber body is temperature regulated, e.g., using a heater therein, which releases heat directly above the substance that lies below. The plate slides downward as the substance is consumed by vaporization or sublimation.”

The device described in the patent is cylindrical in shape, including a thermal jacket and a body unit as well as a lid.

At first glance it might sound like a component of a modern day recreational vaporizer, either for nicotine or another substance such as marijuana, but the patent’s description of the heating element actually compressing onto the substance being vaporized is quite a bit different than anything on the market. It doesn’t sound like a system that would be suitable for vaping loose marijuana or tobacco, or even watery e-liquid. The only type of substance that would conceivably work well with such a chamber design would be some kind of thick liquid or concentrate or — and this is far more likely — some type of medicine.

Is it possible that Apple wants to get in on the vape game, or at least hold a few related patents? Perhaps, but it’s also just as likely that it’s a one-off that will fall into the depths of the patent archives like many others that carry Apple’s name.

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